Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, daughter of Princess Caroline, cousin of Prince William and Prince Harry, 14th in line to the British throne, wearer of snazzy hats and former equestrian world champion, was named to the British equestrian team for the upcoming London Olympics.
The 31-year-old figured to be a longshot for the team after her horse, Toytown, was retired last year. But she put in a third-place performance on new mount at a trials event and that was good enough to land her the fifth spot on the nation's equestrian event team.
Before you cry "royal nepotism!" or "star-struck tokenism," consider: Phillips is a world-renowned rider who won multiple medals at world and European championships. If her selection was a surprise, it was only because of her new horse, the young 11-year-old, High Kingdom. The horse put together a run at the trials that was enough to satisfy the selection committee. Throw in Phillips' experience and she's expected to be a valuable asset for a team expected to compete for a gold medal.
Sure, her mother may be a former Olympian and supporter of London's Olympic bid and her father won may have won medals in two Summer Games, not to mention that Zara is a global ambassador for Samsung (alongside David Beckham). Those facts only serve to heighten interest in an event that may not even need it: The equestrian at Greenwich Park was among the first events to sell out when tickets went on sale.
'It's awesome to be given this opportunity," Phillips told reporters. "I'm really excited and can't wait to kick on and get him there."